Friday, July 31, 2015

Paper Towns Book and Movie

                Happy Friday everyone!  Last weekend the latest John Green book to movie adaptation came out, Paper Towns.  I had not read the book but wanted to do so before seeing the movie.  I finished the book the day before I saw the movie so to say it was fresh in my mind when I watched the movie version is an understatement.  That being said I decided to do a joint review.  I'll talk about my thoughts and feels on the book first then move onto the movie. 

Book Rating: 4 Stars

                I should say that Paper Towns is my second John Green book, I read The Fault in Our Stars before that movie as well.  I didn't snot cry like I did in that one so I call that a win.  This was practically a happy book in comparison.  The book is about Quentin 'Q' who lives next door to the adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman and had a crush on her since childhood from afar.  Until one night when she comes to his window and him to accompany her on an ingenious plot of revenge and adventure.  He joins in and for the first time he breaks his pattern and some rules and comes alive and feels promise for the next day.  That is until he arrives at school the next day and Margo isn't there.  Or the next day or the one after that.  She has disappeared again the enigma she has always been.  This time her clues seem left for him and he believes he is meant to find her. 

                I really liked Q.  He was pretty great.  His relationship with his best friends Ben and Radar was just spot on and much fun.  The way they bicker back and forth and randomly just slack off on what whatever tangent they were on always made me laugh.  The friendship there was real and made me want to be friends with them.  Whereas with Margo I didn't care for her much.  She was interesting in the beginning but after she takes off I cared for her about as much as I did for Sloan in Since You've Been Gone.  It started out slowly though and I grew to like her less as the story went on but at the same time I was falling more in love with Q and the others so it was a trade –off I was okay with.  I just felt she was a bit self centered and juvenile.  I liked some of her ideas and that she helped to break Q out of his shell and made him see life differently for a change but that's about it. 

                Anywho my dislike of Margo aside the story was rather good and compelling.  I spent most of my life in North Florida going to Orlando on a regular basis so to read about the place as just a normal town and to have the characters visit places I've been to or could have been to while I was there as a wee lass is fun.  The clues and the mystery was interesting and it took some thought to leave them and to discover them.  And I mentioned it previously the way Q grows into himself really made the story.  It wasn't just a mystery to solve but to see him step outside himself and deal with everything. 

                That's all I can really say about the book without giving much away.  Plus I really want to discuss the movie and how they differ.

Movie Rating: 5 Stars

                The movie is for me rated higher than the book.  Strange I know.  The book still had many things that were better story wise but as a whole I feel I enjoyed the movie a bit better because I didn't dislike Margo as much and I felt like I got better answers.  There will be spoilers for the movie and book comparison below so just be warned.

                Paper Towns the book had more detail as any book does over their movie counter-part.  There was more clues more adventures and such but they could drag a tad bit so cutting them and streamlining was a smart call.  I also found out after they cut one due to the controversy surrounding Sea World and not wanting to take part in it.  Okay.  But one of the biggest downsides for me was they cut the complexity of the search.  Q wonders with all her messages and signs that she might be waiting for him to save her or find her body.  He is really unsure if she is leading him to her or to her body.  That was a deep part of the search and the movie made it seem more like a boy with a crush going after the girl he's loved from afar to 'get the girl' as it were.  One other thing that does bother me in any movie, there was a scene clearly cut from the movie that they filmed because it was in the trailer which makes no sense but I hope to see it on the DVD.

                Why I enjoyed the movie better?  I mentioned I liked Margo better, she had more depth.  While I still found her somewhat self-centered her logic while flawed did seem to make sense in a way.  It didn't seem as cruel.  I also liked changing the timeline of the story.  The gang racing to NY and trying to get back in time for prom was much more believable than all of them ditching graduation.  They kept the best parts of the book, the fun and excitement but they also enhanced things like Ben's romance.  In the book it just happened almost by accident but in the movie it seemed more natural and progressed.  I also LOVED the idea of including Angela in the road trip.  It kind of balanced things out but also and more importantly it let us get to see more of her character and by extension more of who Radar is.  Also can I point out my theatre was having some technically issues and I lost picture for a minute or two around the gas station scene and just after.   I did manage to see the little cameo!  But I did miss the visual reaction to the T-shirt but I will be re-watching it again, hopefully without issues.


                Overall I think fans of the book will enjoy the movie and people who have yet to read the book will still be able to go in and enjoy the movie.  The best of both worlds.  So there are my thoughts and feels.  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with me.  Have you read the book and seen the movie?  What did you like/dislike about them?  Also I still have a giveaway open until 8/2 at 12:00am EST for a signed copy of A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas here so check it out.  Until next time!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Remembrance: Love, Reincarnation, Second Chances, or Fate?

                Hello everyone!  I hope you all are having a good week thus far.  Today’s book for review was provided by my favorite NetGalley and Barclay Publishing for an honest review.  

                Remembrance is a story of love, reincarnation, second chances, and all the messy stuff that comes with it.  I went into this book knowing very little about it.  I knew it was about Lizzie, a typical high school girl, who has a good boyfriend and a best friend since the sandbox but things get turned around when a new guy comes to school and she has this feeling she knows him already.  I knew there was a reincarnation aspect to the story and that was all I knew to dive into it. 

Rating: 4 Stars

                I really enjoyed it.  The story moved along quickly and kept me interested.  There was a bit of cheesy but I enjoyed it.  At first I wasn't sure if I liked Lizzie but over time she grew on me quickly.  I understood the reasons for the struggles and stupid mistakes she makes throughout.  She is 17 and young and confused about life and the new feelings she has, plus the situation is complicated.  I don't want to give too much away but I liked how her thought process went, she made changes in her life based on how she felt and not just about this new appearance but on how things had been changing before that.  I liked that it wasn't strictly Drew related.  I also loved her interest in art.  I can't draw for anything so yeah but I do love to read and write and that is my version and I love getting lost in it like she does.

                Which leads up to Drew.  He went and made complicated.  I understood his logic after even if I found it inconsistent, young and flawed boy thinking it was.  It fit in the whole of the story.  I admit though that his actions through the first part of the book left me not caring for him too much.  He was so hot and cold I wasn't sure he was worth it but even then I liked the change he sparked in Lizzie. 

                Lizzie's best friend Chelsea was also back and forth for me.  I loved how they had been friends for so long and their past history was touching and relatable.  Still there were times when Chelsea pushed Lizzie to do things even when Lizzie made it clear it made her uncomfortable and it seemed like Chelsea was too concerned with getting things as she wanted than about her friend.  Though Lizzie has her bad best friend moments as well for sure it just seemed at times that Chelsea was a bit self centered and the friendship was more one sided. 

The other covers in
the series!
                The story for me had different elements.  There was the main drama aspect of the romance for sure but it also had lots of little things happening alongside them.  I liked the wonder and debate about past lives and how they can impact the current life. If you are given a second chance can you make better decisions and right wrongs or are we doomed to repeat the same mistakes again?  How do you try to compute this while still in high school?  When your biggest concern should be about a dance or graduating to be tossed such serious life affirming questions is touch. 

                Remembrance is the first book in the Transcended Time series for which there are 3 more books already out for the taking.  This book could stand alone, things wrapped up smoothly enough though you do wonder about certain aspects which is where the next book, Vengeance, picks up.  I look forward to continuing on and seeing how things continue.  I can't say much more.  I would go into this book open and not knowing a ton and just enjoy watching everything develop. After reading this I'm also even more excited about reading Madows other series The Secret Diamond Sisters. 

                That's all for today.  I will have my Paper Towns book and movie review up for you on Friday.  Also don't forget to check out my review of A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas and enter to win a signed copy of the book here.  Now as usual please comment and share your thoughts below I love having a chance to discuss with other book lovers.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on reincarnation and second chances? Do you think you can change things or is fate unchangeable? 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Ready. Set. Write. Week 8

                Welcome to Week 8 of Ready. Set. Write.  Simple is the name of the game. 

So let me just say I did horrible last week and don't expect to do much better this week.

How I did on last weeks goals:
Pack / Reserve Room / Plan- Done!  I’m currently about to finish getting ready leave the hotel for training class so I’d say I packed and am here.  I haven’t noticed anything I just completely forgot yet but it’s only Monday.

Have posts ready for Monday/Wednesday/Friday edited and on blogger so I can post from my phone if necessary. Done!  Clearly Monday was ready!

Writing wise I’d like to send my short story to a few people to get their thoughts and look into a few places that take short story submissions as a possible option.  If anyone knows of some good sites let me know in the comments or e-mail me please. I didn't send it. 

I also felt like I did better with scene goals rather than words so I’m going back to that.  I want to write at least 3 new scenes on my WIP. Nope.  I did one small scene and added to another but that was it.

I’m working on updating my blog and blogs FB page with adding tabs and such for things.  Finally!  I need to work on creating my rating system or more explaining the one I already use since it’s never been discussed and someone mentioned it would be good.  Also my contact page and all that fun stuff.  Slow but I love that it’s coming together.  Not yet.

Reading wise:  I’m reading Never Fade and Vicious as read alongs this week.  I also plan on finishing Paper Towns today (or tomorrow if I don’t finish it before leaving work and go home to crash) so I can be good to see the movie this weekend.  Hopefully more but that’s all for goals.  I finished Paper Towns and another book but my read alongs hit a snag on Wednesday and I haven't caught up yet and only made it about 45% and 35%.

See the Paper Towns movie next weekend and have the book and movie review down and ready to post while I’m in training class next week. Yes!  My complete thoughts should be up Friday!


My goals for this week: 

Classes- I'm in class this week with a co-worker.  So my plans are to not be late to class each day, pay attention, do well, and not fall asleep in them.

Writing-I doubt I'll get anything done.

Reading- I hope to finish my two books and at least one more for review. 

That's about it.  Low goals but I have classes M-F I came into town for them yesterday and when I get back Friday night I get to stay awake and be ready for worm Saturday night so I'll literally be 'working' til next Monday.

A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised:  Not enough done to share.

The biggest challenge I face this week:  Time as always. 

Something I love about my WIP: Everything!  Cheesy but that's all I got right now. 

That’s it for this week.  Good luck this week!


Friday, July 24, 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) Review & Giveaway!


                Hello and welcome back on this wonderful Friday.  It’s hot as Hades outside and I’m avoiding it like the plague.  I would rather escape to the fantasy worlds on my shelves.  Today I have another fun review of a book I can’t say enough good things about and a Giveaway.  What amazing book am I talking about now, you ask?  A Court of Thorns and Roses (aka ACOTAR) by Sarah J Maas. 

Rating: 5 Stars

                This book came out a few months back and I read it instantly.  I have at this point read all of her books at this point.  She’s the brilliant mind behind the Throne of Glass series if you somehow didn’t know that.  I have not reviewed those yet, I know I’m working on it, but I’m planning to do so closer to the release of the next book in that series.  In the mean-time I’d like to discuss this first book in the new fantasy series.  First please note the beautiful cover.  I like the cut off faces, it gives you a vague image of the character but enough is blank you can image them yourselves.  Also that dress…

                Quick overview here:  Beauty and the Beast retelling with faerie lore blended in.  Our nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre is hunting in the woods and kills a wolf.  A faerie in the form of a wolf.  A beast-like creature arrives to demand she come live in his court as payment for her slight.  She is taken to a dangerous and magical land she only knows of through whispers and legends.  Feyre discovers soon that her captor is not a beast but Tamlin, an immortal faerie who rules the Spring Court.  As she adjusts to her new life on the estate Feyre’s feelings for Tamlin begin to shift from icy hostility into something much hotter.  The feelings hot enough to push aside all the wicked and terrible things she has been told of the Fae.  Things aren’t that easy though, as ancient and evil shadow grows over the faerie lands and she must find a way to stop it or leave Tamlin and his world. 

                Need I even say that first and foremost I was going to check this out no matter what?  Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite Disney movies of all time.  I still adore it and watch it every few months just because I’m awesome and roll like that.  So a retelling, I have to check it out.  Add that it was by an author I already LOVE and you have a slam dunk.  I gave up sleep for this book.  I didn’t want to put it down at all but I was in a frenzy at the last quarter of the book and any interruption of my reading was done so at great risk to one’s physical wellbeing.  It was that good.

                Feyre is strong but from the very beginning we see that she has a bit of ice in her heart over some of the things in her life.  We are able to relate to her.  Her family kind of sucks.  They count on her to provide for them and she’s not the parent nor the oldest.  You get a sense of how her life is really quick and you want things to go well for her.  When Tamlin showed up to take her I was excited.  Okay yes, part was because it was a B&B retelling and I LOVED the beast but also it would put her into a different role in life and I wanted that for her.  Our heroine is also proud and does struggle with asking for help which I found endearing and relatable.  On the flip side we have Tamlin, who while he wasn’t a ‘Beast’ he had the power to change into a beast like creature.  He is nice to Feyre pretty much from the start.  He is awkward and messy about it, often times messing things up but he is adorable. 

                Tamlin is amazing.  Also we never really see his full face, or that of anyone on the Spring Court due to a curse put on them while attending a masked ball.  I loved this aspect because I love Masquerade masks, I collect them, but also because it added to the mysterious nature and the torment of never being able to remove it.  Great feature.  A physical representation that something is wrong in the world of Fae.  The first part of the book is a bit slower paced but it’s more about developing the characters and the world with little bits and pieces that come into play later on.  This is a love story after all.  I didn’t mind one bit I was completely encased in the world of the Spring Court.  I do want to learn more about the different courts though, they seem to have one for all seasons and then also for Day, Dawn, and Night.  How cool?  The world was just so full of different faerie types some good and some downright evil. 

                I got a bit off track talking about characters but one more I just adored from the start was Lucien.  I heart him.  He is so much fun.  He is a dick at the start but it’s understandable.  Still he is always honest about his feelings and tells it like it is.  He pushes Feyre and for me, I feel he was a huge part of the story and how she managed to warm to their world and Tamlin.  We only get a couple glimpses of Rhysand (Rhys) until the later part of the book when his character steps into a larger part of the story.  He’s dark, dangerous, and complex.  I liked the character himself but I didn’t love him like some people.  One of the things Maas does well is get everyone all excited and shipping couples.  I ship Feyre and Tamlin 100% while some have taken to shipping Feyre and Rhysand which I don’t understand at all.  I could write pages back and forth on my ship preference but not right now.  Like Rhysand we only meet Amarantha in person later in the story but her threat and power are present through the story but getting to place a face to the name, so to speak, was great.  She is wickedly evil.  I also loved her backstory.

                I was obsessed with this book while reading it.  I loved the way the romance between Tamlin and Feyre builds, the moments and tension leading up to them finally having a moment were both steamy and adorable.  Again Tamlin was so cute and she was straight up not having it, expecting him to be horrible.  Also his experience to humans is a bit limited and he has some rust there to clean up but watching it unfold was beautiful.  The way things came together and built through the story all paid off in the end.  Again the last part was just wow.  Serious action going on.  I will admit some things were a bit predictable and some would say a key part was a bit easy but when you work in a retelling that is bound to happen some.  Still there was so much happening that I was nervous about and wandering what would happen next.  I can’t really say much more than this without giving away any spoilers and discovering everything is half the fun. 

                So to end this review so you can get to checking out this book I’ll tell you about the giveaway.  I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah J Maas and her best friend Susan Dennard was a surprise guest at the ACOTAR release tour.  It was pretty amazing.  I already had my copy I had pre-ordered month before release that arrived the day of the signing and the wonderful little book stop that hosts these events does ask you to purchase a from the author from them to get in the signing line after the Q&A which is totally understandable.  So already having all of her books myself I thought it would be a great idea to get another copy of this one and get it signed for this very use.  I will leave this open until next Saturday night at midnight (EST), I’ll announce the winner next week and it’s open to anyone!  That’s all for now.  I’ll see you next week!
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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Blog Tour: Had a Great Fall by Shawn McGuire

                Hey everyone!  Today  I have a special post on a special day.  I'm taking part in the blog tour to help spread the word about the newest book in The Wish Makers series, Had a Great Fall by Shawn McGuire.    I have to share today, what the book is about, an excerpt, and the giveaway that is being hosted.  Now I had the pleasure of meeting the sweet and wonderful author at UtopYA where she talked about her series with such passion you need to check it out.  People dealing with serious issues making wishes and Genies there to make them happen and all the stuff that happens when those two things collide.  Magic. 

Everyone deserves happiness. Is Robin the exception?

                A cross-country move to a new state offers Robin Westmore the chance to get away from the relentless bullies and reinvent himself. But on the first day at his new high school Robin finds himself in front of Zane, the school’s star pitcher and chief tormentor, at the exact wrong moment and right back into the role of victim. Hopeless, he wishes for it all to stop.

                When Desiree, the new leader of the genies, grants Robin’s wish he’s sure things are finally going his way. But problems in the magical realm have made Desiree equally hopeless and too distracted to give Robin the attention he needs.

                As Desiree hides from her responsibilities, Robin disappears into the video game he’s created. There he finds excitement, adventure, and control. When the game presents him with a real escape from his tortured life, will he take it?



                “You stayed up late again?” she asked as she took a box of tea from the back of the cabinet.

                “Lots of homework,” I said. She knew I spent my summer developing the game. She didn’t know I spent at least two hours a night, after homework, still working on it.

                She never protested when I said the dark circles under my eyes were studying related. Usually that was the case. Sometimes, though, Zane’s harassment got really intense and the circles came from lack of sleep due to nightmares.

                There were days when he would stop in the middle of whatever he’d been doing and charge at me from across the lunchroom to slam into me or sneeze on my lunch. Once he even stood in front of me flapping his arms and making birdcalls. In the middle of the lunchroom. Why didn’t someone record that and put it up on the web? He looked ridiculous. Didn’t anyone else see that?

                “Are you feeling all right?” Mom put the back of her hand to my forehead and I resisted the urge to swat it away. It was a caring touch. One of the few signs lately that someone gave a damn about me.
If I told her what was happening, would she do something? Maybe I could do online schooling. She knew I was a self-motivator and that she never had to check to see if I’d done my homework. Grades were everything to me. I’d never had less than a 3.8 GPA. The only reason it fell below a 4.0 was because of gym class. I could barely lift my backpack let alone do a pull-up. Maybe online school was the answer to my problems.

                “Mom—”

                Her phone rang just as I was about to ask.

                “Hello… Oh, I’m so sorry.” She glanced at the clock on the microwave. “I was thinking there was a one hour time difference. Five months and I’m still adjusting to being in the Mountain Time Zone. Let me get to my office and I’ll call you right back.”

                She was already heading out of the kitchen when I said, “Bye.”

                “Oh, sweetie.” She came back and kissed my forehead. “If you’re not feeling well you can stay home. Or call if you need to come home early. I’ll give permission for you to leave.”

                She knew I got motion sick on the bus. If I said I was nauseous, would she still make me ride the bus or would she take twenty minutes off of work to come and get me?

                I toasted a piece of cinnamon-raisin bread and spread on a thick layer of butter. Then I tugged on my coat and headed out the door. With every step I thought of how Zane would be waiting for me and that single bite of toast turned into a little rock in my stomach. I paused at the garbage can next to the garage and lifted the lid to toss in the barely-eaten piece when someone came around the corner, making me jump.

                “Are you Robin?” A girl with long dark hair that looked kind of like dreadlocks but kind of not stood at the corner of my garage. “Wait. You’re not throwing that out are you? That’s so wasteful. There are hungry people who would gladly eat that.”

                I looked from her to the toast and then shoved it in my mouth. I couldn’t handle a lecture right then.

                “Who are you?” I asked through the mouthful of bread-covered raisins.

                She made a disgusted face. “Manners. Heard of them?”

                I chewed, swallowed, and brushed the crumbs off my hand. “Sorry. Yes, I’m Robin. Who are you?”

                She smiled then. She had a great smile, one that made her eyes crinkle at the corners. “I’m Dara.”

                “Nice to meet you. Can I help you with something?”

                “I don’t know. Possibly.” Dara put her hand to her mouth and tapped a navy blue-painted fingernail against her blindly-white teeth, like she was contemplating the question. “Teasing. Nothing you can do for me, thanks, but I can sure help you.”

                I shook my head. “You’ve got the wrong person. I don’t need help.” At least none that she could give. I doubted she could take on Zane.

                “You’re Robin Westmore.”

                She knew my name. Whatever that meant.

                “You just moved here from Wisconsin.”

                “Five months ago. So not just but yes, I’m from Wisconsin.”

                “You’re being bullied by some kid named Zane and you want it to stop.”

                I stood there, next to my garbage can, wondering who this girl was and what she was up to. It was common knowledge that I was Zane’s favorite target. Of course I wanted his harassment to stop, anyone would, but what could she possibly do about it?

                “Look, I don’t know who you are but if Zane sent you—”

                “Zane didn’t send me.” She paused, just for a beat. “I guess you could say the universe did.”

                I didn’t need this. I had enough drama in my life. I didn’t need this chick adding crazy to it as well. Marijuana was legal in Colorado. Maybe she’d been dining on pot gummies or something. The universe sent her. Yeah, right.

                “I’ve got to get going,” I said. “I’m going to miss my bus.”

                “Don’t worry about that,” Dara said. “I can take care of that.”

                I started walking. I had to go six blocks in about two minutes. If I wasn’t there I’d have to either wait for the next bus, which wouldn’t be for half an hour, or beg my mom for a ride during which I’d have to listen to her chew me out about responsibility.

                Dara followed, her arms wrapped tightly together. She wasn’t wearing a jacket.

                “Let me try again,” she said. “This is my first time and I’m not sure how to do this.”

                What was she saying? “Are you a prostitute?”

                “What? God.” She made a face. “No, I’m not a prostitute. What kind of hooker comes up to someone by their garage first thing in the morning?”

                “I wouldn’t know. I’m not privy to the methods of the, uh, working class.”

                She said nothing for half a block and then started laughing. Probably at the thought of me soliciting a hooker.

                “Let me try this again.” She cleared her throat and squared her shoulders. “Yesterday afternoon around three-forty-five you made a wish.”

                “I did what?” Oh yeah, the dandelion. “Do you live next door or something? How could you know that?”

                “I told you, the universe sent me. Your wish has been granted.”

Bio

                Shawn McGuire is the author of young adult novels that blend contemporary setting and issues with a touch of fantasy and magic.  She started writing after seeing the first Star Wars movie (that's episode IV) as a kid.  She couldn’t wait for the next movie to come out so she wrote her own episodes.  Sadly, those notebooks are long lost, but her desire to write is as strong now as it was then. 

                Her books deal with harder topics (death of a sibling, divorce, dating violence, bullying, and teen suicide) because she believes it is important to talk about these things.  Those kinds of tops can be hard to handle and a bit overwhelming, so she infuses a bit of humor in her work as well because she also believes that a sense of humor can help you get through just about anything.

                Shawn lives in Colorado with her family where she spends her time reading, cooking and baking, practicing yoga and meditation, and hiking and camping in the spectacular Rocky Mountains. 


Other Works:  The Wish Makers Series
Sticks and Stones
Free e-book at:

Break My Bones
Free e-book until July 24th with newsletter signup

Never Hurt Me
                There you have it.  A look into a magical series to check out.  Also look at how cool the titles line up to make a saying I remember from childhood! Now for the giveaway I mentioned. 


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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Ready. Set. Write Week 7

                Welcome to Week 7 of Ready. Set. Write.  Simple is the name of the game.
 
 How I did on last weeks goals:

  • Exercise 3 times this week (upping it some)- Epic FAIL I only had 1 day off this week and it was spent sleeping after not sleeping between the previous two 12 hour shifts lol  Sleep schedule is not working with me. 
  • Write 2,500 words in my WIP- I fell short only reached 1,586.
  • Edit my short story-I ended up adding more to it.  I just felt there was another scene or so that could make it a bit better.  I’m not the best editor in the world, horrible really when it comes to my own work since I know what should be there I read over mistakes.  I’m going to send it to a couple friends to see what they think and go from there. 
  • Finish The Darkest Minds, I mean seriously it will get finished!  Also finish the Grisha trilogy with the read-along group.  Also read two additional books, one of which being Paper Towns so I can have read it before the movie comes out.  I finished The Darkest Minds at the start of the week then Ruin & Rising the last of the trilogy with the read-along yesterday.  I also finished my review book and I’m starting Paper Towns as soon as I post this.  I also read another book in there so still met my goal #’s wise just not one of them I had intended.      
  • Write 3 reviews, trying to stay ahead and keep a schedule-I typed and posted Escape From Witchwood Hollow and Alienated.  Did not get an extra one done.  


My goals for this week:  

  • Pack / Reserve Room / Plan- I have a training class all of next week and leave Sunday for it so I need to pack…again.  I need to make sure I have things I need for the work classes and then also have things for after if we want to do something after, I’m a horrid over-packer if it wasn’t clear.  Plus prep some lunch and dinner items to take with to save money on eating out.
  • Have posts ready for Monday/Wednesday/Friday edited and on blogger so I can post from my phone if necessary (unsure what the internet situation will be like sometimes hotels and wifi don’t always get along).  I have one review written but not formatted and I’ll have my RSW put on there and formatted Sunday before we leave.
  • Writing wise I’d like to send my short story to a few people to get their thoughts and look into a few places that take short story submissions as a possible option.  If anyone knows of some good sites let me know in the comments or e-mail me please.
  • I also felt like I did better with scene goals rather than words so I’m going back to that.  I want to write at least 3 new scenes on my WIP.
  • I’m working on updating my blog and blogs FB page with adding tabs and such for things.  Finally!  I need to work on creating my rating system or more explaining the one I already use since it’s never been discussed and someone mentioned it would be good.  Also my contact page and all that fun stuff.  Slow but I love that it’s coming together.
  • Reading wise:  I’m reading Never Fade and Vicious as read alongs this week.  I also plan on finishing Paper Towns today (or tomorrow if I don’t finish it before leaving work and go home to crash) so I can be good to see the movie this weekend.  Hopefully more but that’s all for goals.
  • See the Paper Towns movie next weekend and have the book and movie review down and ready to post while I’m in training class next week.



A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised:  Main character and her best friend since diapers talking via e-mail.
                She had a point.  She had been using that excuse as is to avoid talking about things.  As always you make a good point.
                But…
                She knew me too well.  I’ve already lost everything.  I don’t know if I could take falling for someone and losing them.
                There it was.  The real truth.  Sure all the practical reasons were there but the heart of the matter was straight forward.  Her response takes longer than the others which means she’s either stunned silent and has nothing to say or she’s writing a book.

The biggest challenge I face this week: Time.  Only one day off and having sleep issues between 12 hour shifts doesn’t leave much time.  When you can’t sleep it would make sense to write but if you’re trying to fall asleep sitting up to write or typing on the computer/phone seems counter-productive.  So restless lying in bed it is.

Something I love about my WIP: That my characters are real.  They act and think like people do, not always rational or sane but the ideas and feelings flow and influence everything.  Or at least that is my goal.


That’s it for this week.  Good luck this week!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Alienated- An Alien Love Story

                Hello!  First let me just say I have apparently given up on any type of normal sleep schedule what so ever while on this current nights rotation.  Every time I think I have it pinned down I have a fantastic day of no sleep for 48+ hours followed by a hard sleep and losing a day so yeah I give up.  I’ll take it where it comes.  That being said, I plan to read more when I can’t sleep so whoohoo staying positive on that front!  I’m also working on things to help improve my blog and make it more user/viewer friendly and FUN.  So let me know what you think of the changes as they happen over time so I can keep improving. 

                Today I wanted to talk about my thoughts and feels on Alienated by Melissa Landers.  This is the first book in a series, I’m not 100% sure if it’s a trilogy a duology or what.  There are currently two books out and a novella between them.  I have only read Alienated at this point but I really enjoyed it and I look forward to diving into the novella and sequel in the near future.  I mentioned some changes, I’m going to start giving my rating up front of the review so you know ahead of time my general feel of the book.  I’m also working on adding my very own rating system tab (what the stars mean for me).  I think this one is self-explanatory though ;)

Rating: 5 Stars

                Alienated is about aliens.  The L’eihr made contact with Earth two year ago and helped Earth out with a cure for cancer, showing they wanted peace.  Not everyone was on board with aliens being out there but both parties are working towards a treaty and to get things rolling they want to start a student exchange program, study abroad has a new meaning.  Basically the selected group of L’eihrs teens would spend the school year on Earth in different selected areas and then the host teen would spend the next year on L’eihr.  For Cara Sweeney it seems like a simple enough idea, share her home with an alien and get a free ride to her dream college and during the visit get a first-hand look at the L’eihrs and build her journalistic profile. 
               
                The L’eihrs are nearly identical to humans physically, other than they are all smoking HOT.  Not a bad trait if you ask me.  Still when Cara meets Aelyx (A-licks) her sexy alien exchange student, his differences seem clear as he seems aloof, cold, and for someone so brilliant also somewhat dense on basic ‘human’ emotions.  Things hit a snag as she starts to get to know him better as her town starts to jump on the anti-L’eihr bandwagon and school becomes downright hostile.  Police escorts, threatening notes, etc. 
               
                Cara realizes as time passes and she gets to know Aelyx more, understands him, that she likes him.  As a friend and maybe even something more.  But Aelyx has some serious secrets he’s been hiding, his reason for coming to Earth and more.  The violence continues to escalate as everything starts to unravel and Cara has to choose to fight for her planet and the boy she has come to love.

                I first saw this book on Book Tube at abookutopia’s channel, and I just realized as I typed this how many books I’ve read recently after hearing about them on her channel.  Anywho she was gushing about it and I loved the cover, such vivid colors and a girl lying on Early full of color looking up and a sexy guy lying on a much duller color looking down kind of mirroring one another was catching.  Plus, after reading Jennifer L. Armentrouts Lux series featuring aliens on Earth I was wanting more and thought the concept of them coming out and trying to start an exchange program was fun.    

                This story has a lot of elements working for it.  The alien aspect is a fun twist but really the story is about people; our nature and the connections we make.  Aelyx is completely different from Cara.  They are literally from two different planets.  Being around people different from yourself with different cultures, beliefs, tastes, and so on is going to lead to some hilarious moments.  Make those two personalities both stubborn and competitive and that just ups the ante.  Cara and Aelyx constantly banter back and forth and in a sense compete with one another, mostly Cara trying to prove she is smart even compared to his genies level brain.  Aelyx also struggles to understand human concepts and emotions like those used for a certain digital pet game.  They both start out unsure of the other but as the story builds and time passes they are able to get to know one another and they come to find that alien or human some things have no bounds and the connection grows.  I LOVED that this was not insta-love at all.  There was instant attraction for Aelyx of course he’s hot that’s natural but it took time to learn to even like one another but the chemistry and tension are there.  Plus learning about the differences between the worlds is rather fun.

                Also something you don’t see a ton of in YA books is a supporting and present family. Most YA something happens to the parents, they’re never around, or leave a lot to be desired.  Basically they are background characters we don’t learn much about unless it’s a huge plot point like paternity or family line or business type things.  Landers managed to create a nice little family for Cara that were both supportive and unique.  They had a story of their own that fit with the overall story nicely.  They made jokes and were there to help but most of all they are there in the actually main story.

                The real icing on the cake is that his book about aliens is very realistic.  The way that people can jump to one conclusion based on a prejudice and no amount of fact will tell them otherwise.  It’s almost scary how real this is. 

                Having a prejudice about one thing, in this case that aliens are evil creatures and need to leave Earth, and using any argument no matter how ill thought out or including any facts/research to shove your ideas onto people.  Then those whom dare to disagree are suddenly a traitor to Earth.  I was working on my review for this book originally back when my neck of the woods was dealing with a bit of chaos over a flag.  I won’t go into details, because I’ve stayed out of it online thus far, but as I had to take calls on the matter daily for over a month I had a front row seat.  People all over the US and some in other countries, yes we had some international callers, saw something on Facebook which must be 100% fact after all.  They felt they knew the whole story and felt justified to call and pass judgment.  Truth, not one person that called had all or even half the facts, only what was being sensationalized and warped by media.  Some of the L’eihrs have a bad opinion of us on Earth just as some humans have an issue with the L’eihrs, an inherent mistrust.  Only when the L’eihrs are on Earth and around people are they able to see the whole picture and not just some parts.  Yes there are good and bad to everyone.  No one is immune.  Nothing is 100% white or black.  I have witnessed people up in arms about something they believe in powerfully and I see both sides just like in the book you see the struggle and the increasing aggressive moods of everyone.  So bravo to Landers for capturing that realism while at the same time not dragging it down but keeping the overall mood light and enjoyable with the way the story is written.


                Overall I really enjoyed this book and rated it 5 stars.  I have not started the sequel just yet, so many books to read and so little time, but I look forward to delving into the novella then the Invaded in the near future.  Spread the love and share your thoughts in the comments below.  Have you read this series yet?  Would you volunteer or even accept an alien exchange student into your house? Let’s discuss!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My review of Escape From Witchwood Hollow

                Welcome back for another review.  I was contacted by the author about reviewing Escape FromWitchwood Hollow.  I had never heard of this book before but the concept was intriguing and that was all I needed. 

                Escape From Witchwood Hollow by Jordan Elizabeth takes place in a small town of Amn, a small farming town that has a legend.  Witchwood Hollow is that legend, a haunted place in the forest where if you wander in you will never leave because the witch will trap you in the shadows.  Creepy right?  I love small towns and their legends and mysteries with the way the kids in town will play on them.  Anyways this story spans several lives that all center around Witchwood Hollow and the mysteries that lay within from the 1600's, 1800's to current 2001 where Honoria and her brother move to Amn with their Aunt and Uncle after losing their parents in 9/11.  Honoria finds the legend compelling and the idea of this haunted place not so scary but more hopeful.   She sets off to find the secrets of the Hollow and if the witch is real, if she could help her.  But at what cost.

                I liked the time aspect of the book.  We see inside the heads of three main characters who span the times.  We see from Lady Clifford in the 1600's who starts this off.  Our witch.  What drives her to this Hollow and things that transpire.  In the 1800's we have Albertine who wonders into the woods on her way to her fathers' after arriving in America ready to see him again and marry the son on the neighboring farm.  Her plans are derailed when she is lost/trapped in the woods.  Then we have the modern aspect of Honoria (the name is a bit out there for me), who is suffering the loss of her parents and trying to start a new life.  City girl to country girl, there is a bit of a learning curve to the way things are done in small towns.  Each has their own story and journey and the way the weave together enlightening parts of the others was well done.  While all three ended up in the small town of Amn for different reasons and in vastly different time periods each one was unique and had their own characteristics and way of speaking that seemed authentic to someone like me who doesn't read a lot of historical fiction. 

                I can't discuss the plot too much because the book is a super short and quick read and the best part of the book is the mystery as you read.  Uncovering the past and figuring out how it plays into the future of Witchwood Hollow.  I say go into this book not knowing anything else and enjoy the mystery.  Also not a spoiler but random thing I can totally say it sums up chickens, aka demon spawn, perfectly when Honoria, a city girl, has her first encounter with them.  I just had to add that.  I give this book a solid 4 Stars. 

Rating: 4 Stars

                Let me know what you think down below in the comments please.  Comments are happiness J  Share with me any local legends you’ve lived near or visited.  I never heard any in my small area which was somewhat disappointing. 




Monday, July 13, 2015

Ready. Set. Write. Week 6

                Welcome to Week 6 of Ready. Set. Write.  Simple is the name of the game. 


How I did on last weeks goals:
  • Finish The Darkest Minds ASAP!- Nope!  Just  haven't even though I'm enjoying it which makes zero sense. 
  • Read Storm and Siege and Never Fade with my friend for our read-along and at least 1 other book from my TBR list. I finished Storm and Siege with my read-along group.  I never finished Darkest Minds so didn't start Never Fade I did finish a review book from my TBR list, a short story, and a manga that arrived Friday.
  • Type 4 reviews and post 2. 3/4 Done!  I posted my reviews for These Broken Stars and Every Day.  I also have one other review ready to go.
  • Finish my short I started. Pretty much.  It needs some editing and just a few minutes ago I thought of a line I wanted to add to it but I'm excited.
  •  Swapping things up: 3k words in my WIP- L Nope.  I am ashamed to admit I didn't work on it at all. 
  • I’m going to get in with everyone else here and add exercise in some format at least twice (it’s small but from nothing I need to start somewhere). Okay so I know the bar was low but nope.  I did walk Saturday and intended to walk Sunday and keep it up but it's just so HOT I don't have the energy to move.



 My goals for this week: 
  • Exercise 3 times this week (upping it some)
  • Write 2,500 words in my WIP 
  • Edit my short story 
  • Finish The Darkest Minds, I mean seriously it will get finished!  Also finish the Grisha trilogy with the read-along group.  Also read two additional books, one of which being Paper Towns so I can have read it before the movie comes out. 
  • Write 3 reviews, trying to stay ahead and keep a schedule


A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised:  (short story)
Get in a truck with a total stranger?  In the middle of nowhere.  This was the start to most serial killer movies.  Her overactive imagination was getting the best of her, he was probably just a nice guy.  Screw it.  She didn't have anyone else she was willing to call.  If he was a serial killer then fine, it would just round out her night. 

The biggest challenge I face this week:  Feeling motivated to do anything when it is frankly just so flipping HOT.  I have the AC cranked but after my last power bill *cough* I've determined I can't afford to keep it at 65 all day despite my desire to do so.  It isn't hot at 75 by any means but I just want to chill and veg out.

Something I love about my WIP: That even when I take time off from it and don't work on it, the story still calls to me and doesn't feel abandoned.


That’s it for this week.  

Friday, July 10, 2015

Everyone can learn something from David Levithan's Every Day

                It’s Friday!  Okay excitement for the coming weekend and what I hope will be a good reading weekend.  Let’s get stated on another book review.  I read this book with my usual read-along pal, on a long Sunday at work.  We both flew through it.  This book was Ever Day by David Levithan.  I had the great pleasure of meeting Levithan at YALLfest last year.  I had not, at the time, read any of his books though I owned two of them.  He was very nice and I told him how excited I was to start reading this book. 

                I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I started it.  I vaguely remembered the summary from when I purchased the book several months prior but mostly I knew that some people I trusted said it was good and that was enough.  The basic idea of the book is following ‘A’ our lead character who is neither male nor female (though I will probably refer to A as a he during the review because that was how I saw A in my head) and has no body.  A is a soul who wakes in a different body each day and borrows their life for the day.  A has no idea why his life is this way and has accepted this.  He never gets too attached and tries not to ruin the persons life in the one day he has it.  Everything is going as per normal, until A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets his girlfriend Rhiannon.  The so called rules he normally goes by are gone as he suddenly has found someone he wants to be with every day. 

                Sounds complex right?  It is.  The idea of the story is pretty interesting and the way that A has no way to discuss it with anyone and it’s not like this is normal.  I love A.  A simply is.  A lives a different life each day.  A is a guy, a girl, gay, straight, mean, shy, sweet, suicidal, thin, sick, overweight, popular, nerdy, you name it he has been it.  He lives a million different experiences that allow him to experience more in his short life than most of us will ever see.  He always sticks to the same age, growing each year, and in the same general area, but the life experiences are incredible.  A really gets inside a person and not only borrows their life but can see how they live it.  A is able to get to the very depth and see who the person really is and who they put forth into the world.  This really touched me.

                All of the different lives come with their own ups and downs as one would guess.  Justin was that point for him.  Justin had an amazing life, mostly because he had an amazing girlfriend in Rhiannon, who A didn’t feel was appreciated.  Leaving Justin’s body as he did with everyone, without any power to stay, is the hardest transition A has had.  Having something you actually want for your own and no way to keep it was moving.  I felt for A instantly.  To never have one thing as your own, friends, family, etc., I just couldn’t imagine. It seemed sad but for the most part A seemed well put together given the life.  A was adaptable and saw people for simply people, which could teach us all something. 

                I really related to the story and the way it was told in that we all seem to have times where we keep part of ourselves hidden inside and put another part out for the world to see for a variety of reasons.  Seeing him go through so many lives and that this concept seemed universal clicks.  Some lives got to me more than others.  That’s it really.  Anything more would ruin the journey for you.  Check out this amazing book about PEOPLE, yes some romance elements, but so so much more.

Rating: 5 Stars  


                I look forward to sharing more goodies with you next week.  Have a safe fun weekend.  Share your thoughts on the book and anything else down below.  Comments are food to the soul!  Oh and one more thing I almost forgot!  There is a sequel for Every Day coming out August 25th called Another Day.  I just got an ARC of it and look forward to starting it and reviewing it for you wonderful readers!